May 252014

I guess spring brings out dreams of travel and adventure because I’m hearing from a lot of people who are RV shopping for the first time, and also from a lot of folks who have RVs and are thinking about replacing them.

When people talk about changing RVs it almost always because they want something newer and bigger. My first comment to them is to ask why are they shopping for a different RV? If their current rig is in bad shape mechanically or old and worn out, that might be the right decision to make. But many times it is because the RV’s interior is worn and dated or maybe the appliances don’t work well, but structurally and mechanically it still has a lot of life left in it. Then you have to decide if it really is time to change RVs or if what you have can be refurbished. I wrote a blog post about this titled Why Buy New When You Can Upgrade a while back that addresses this issue. It might be advantageous to spend a few thousand dollars to bring what you have up to date rather than to spend a small fortune on a new RV. Not having monthly payments is a very good thing.

A couple of years ago when my first novel, Big Lake, made the New York Times bestseller list a lot of people were speculating if we would be buying a new Prevost or some other high end coach. But why would we do that? We love our 2002 Winnebago Ultimate Advantage. It only has 80,000 miles on it, which is nothing for a diesel, and the floor plan suits us perfectly. We’d like to tear out the carpeting and put in wood flooring, replace the Norcold refrigerator with a residential model, and put in a range with oven to replace the cooktop. If money were no object we’d probably get it painted too. But that’s all. And all of that would cost a whole lot less than a new motorhome!

But even if I’m not actually in the market for a new RV, sometimes I like to listen to the people selling them. I think I’m a pretty fair storyteller, but when it comes to fiction, these guys make me look like a kid telling fibs at preschool.

A couple of weeks ago I was looking at a huge four-slide mansion on wheels that had every bell and whistle that you can think about and a few you probably never thought of. It even had two bathrooms! How cool is that?

In my seminar on How To Be A Smart RV Shopper, I tell the audience that if they are shopping for an RV and find a model they like, to forget about how pretty it is and try out what it would feel like to actually live in it. Kick off your shoes and step into the shower and simulate bathing. Is there room to do it comfortably? Sit down on the toilet. Do you have room? In some rigs, you can do your business, but you almost have to step outside to do the paperwork!

Practicing what I preached, I parked myself on the toilet in the master bathroom of this rolling mansion and promptly noticed a problem. The vanity cabinet was on one side and the wall was on the other, making a rather tight fit. And that was made worse by the fact that the metal toilet paper roller was mounted in such a way that it was jabbing into my leg. I told the salesman that in a $630,000 coach, I would have thought that somebody would have put that someplace else.

“Well, most RVers don’t use their bathrooms except in an emergency,” he told me. “That’s what rest areas and campground bathrooms are for.” I looked at him in amazement, not sure I had really heard that, and then I asked him if he really believed that somebody who could afford a rig that cost well over half a million dollars and had two bathrooms was really going to stop and use a nasty toilet in a rest area. “Oh yeah,” he assured me, “they do it all the time.” I didn’t buy the motorhome, but I got a great story to tell out of it.

Today is the last day you can enter this week’s Free Drawing for an audiobook of Big Lake Lynching, the second book in my Big Lake mystery series. All you have to do is click on the Free Drawing link and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening.

Big Lake Lyinching Audio cover

And here are some more great deals from my author pals – if you like my buddy George Wier’s excellent Bill Travis mysteries set in Texas, check out Longnecks & Twisted Hearts, the third installment in the series. The calendar might say it’s spring, but it’s the holidays in Mona Ingram’s romantic A Family for Christmas. It’s 99¢ today only.

For science fiction fans, Trish Marie Dawson’s The Dry Lands: a Hutch and A’ris novel is an otherworldly tale set on the faraway planet of Ernoth, filled with wandering gypsies, deadly assassins, and a storyline that will keep you turning the page. And there’s more for sci-fi fans!  Fomorian Earth and Shades of Moloch will both be free on Monday only. Be sure to check them out, and if you like a book, please leave a review on Amazon. It’s the best gift you can give an author.

Thought For The Day – Being male is a matter of birth, being a man is a matter of age, being a gentleman is a matter of choice.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  12 Responses to “Is It Time To Change RVs?”

  1. Excellent post. A reminder that newer & bigger is not necessarily better!

    BTW, where has Bad Nick been hanging out? I miss him.

  2. I won’t quote the old line about an RV salesman’s lips, but that guy is a real a _ _ hole. They will tell you anything to make a sale.

  3. I agree about salesmen if their lips are moving they are lying, but I think there might be more truth to the bathroom story than you think. After my husband died, I used to frequent a high end RV Park in Temecula called Pechanga.It was close to home, and ,still working, I could ony do weekends. Those big money rigs would roll in on Friday night and with the exception of using the showers and getting into their tow vehicles to go out to eat, you never saw the occupants. I couldn’t believe anyone wanting to use a public shower or restroom when they had their own ( I assume, clean) private one.

  4. Well, believe it or not, I believe the salesman. I, myself, do not like to use public restrooms. ( I would use the one here though. 🙂 ) But, being in housekeeping this winter at this park, I am amazed at how many people do not use their own bathrooms. Our restrooms are closed from 9:30-10:30 each morning for a cleaning and some people do not read the brochure first and then come up and are angry they can’t get in. We have had a lot of big rigs come through here this winter and I guess they just want endless hot water. I don’t understand. Some of the guests even admitted that they uses their showers for storage. I wouldn’t mind a larger bathroom but for now this one is perfect.

  5. I love that you addressed remodeling vs buying a new rv today. we love our carriage cameo, even though it’s an ’01 it’s got many years of useful life left in her. the floor plan is so simple and by removing the couch and dining table we have created an almost 12 wall in which to add cabinets and an extra freezer. we never sit at the table, but if we need one I’ve found a nesting table and chair package I can keep stashed for those times.
    meanwhile I’ve also decided to remove the giant overhead cabinets at the kitchen sink–the one really bonehead design flaw we’ve found in this unit, and i have the bumps on my head to prove it!
    by turning them upside down and placing them along the wall where the table was, we have the same storage capacity, plus a large new countertop for small appliances.
    I love my carriage and customizing it is a lot of fun!

  6. Like you Thought For The Day.
    Our diesel pusher is a 1993 built in 1992. Paid For and loved. We have pulled out the two front couches and round dining table, had new furniture built in, replaced carpet several times, have redone window boxes in wood rather than fabric, had the entire coach repainted and had lots of other work done over the years. Why don’t we get a new RV or newer one? Our coach is better built than anything we have seen. We like the layout. We understand the systems. Frankly we just REALLY like this coach. When we bought it in 1997 we did a LOT of research before we bought it, looked at many rigs and even owned a used gas 32 ft RV for a year to check out RVing to see if we liked it. So we found the rig that was we feel was built just with us in mind. I still look to see what’s on the market and get ideas for changes to our coach. But every time I return to my coach and say, “So glad we have this coach.”
    About salesmen, ask them if they have ever owned or used an RV. Almost 100% say they have never owned or used an RV. So much for their knowledge about RVs. We have met two good salesmen (one a car salesman and the other an RV salesman). Both of them LISTENED to what we wanted and then directed us to what on the lot best fitted our description. Bought 3 cars over the years from the car salesman and bought our 1993 Beaver from that RV salesman. Food for thought salesmen.

  7. We have several friends with high-dollar rigs, and about half will not use their own bathroom, especially the shower, unless it’s absolutely necessary. I can’t understand this philosophy since one of our primary reasons for buying an RV was to have our own facilities and NOT have to use public ones, clean or unclean. And like you, the first thing we look at in an RV is the bathroom setup. Second for me is the kitchen design.

  8. The one time we where invited to visit my in laws at their RV we weren’t allowed to use their bathroom in the RV, we had to use the campground bathroom.

  9. Good post. We did extensive research, checked out most manufacturers and listened to owners of different models before making our purchase of a used rv. [we could not afford a new one] We knew just the right floor plan and were open to 2-3 different models. We found one that had the right basic design but it had 2 couches and a booth dinette which we did not care for. We bought it and tried it out without changes for one year. When we returned to home base we pulled out one couch and booth dinette and replaced with 2 recliners and a free-standing dinette/ computer table. We love our rv as it is now living it it full-time for 3 years. We went to the Tampa RV show and looked at all the new models and decided we were happy with ours [especially since it is paid for]

  10. It is hard to believe that people will buy an rv , insist on FHUs and then use public restrooms and showers. We almost never use the rv park or rest area facilities when we can get FHUs. When we visit relatives we turn down their offers to stay in their houses . We would much rather sleep in our own bed but I have seen many rvs parked in motel parking lots. ???

  11. Totally with you and the others about the RV sales repe….the most recent examples is of a new RVer who bought a fifth-wheel that “the really nice salesman told us our 3/4 ton pickup could pull with ‘no probem'”. Well, they are now selling it – having not even used t – for a $6000 loss because it’s 5,000 over what they should safely be pulling.

    Yes, this young couple now realize they did not do enough independent research or ask enough experienced RVers before they bought it, so they are going thru an expensive lesson in RV selection.

    But, I also think the “sales reps” – many at the big-name conglomerate RV store we all know so well – need to be taken to the wood shed and taught a thing or 2 about ethics. Experienced sales reps we have talked to love their jobs and have regular customers return year after year because they are honest.

  12. Oh Nick that salesman is 1\2 right. If the showers are clean you can be sure that Ron will use them. He loves the water pressure and all that hot water. Cracks me up. Of course I think it helps him justify not helping to clean the shower in the RV????

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